“What kind of restaurant is this?” “Massage.”

Our Goodwill Guide in Osaka was walking us down “the longest street in Japan” on the one cold and rainy day of our trip when we passed a pachinko parlor and my consort, Mr. Curious, asked if we could check it out. We stepped inside and my world was instantly rocked. After more than a week of living largely in real life, seeing and experiencing rather than compulsively clicking and reacting, I had just been transported into IRL Twitter. It was loud, a steady, rhythmic din of slot machines, like the firehose feel when everyone is responding to something either newsworthy or stupid (or, these days: both). It was too bright and too young and too neon-y but somehow still dark. It was smoky, very smoky, and even that felt right despite the fact that Japan has pretty much ostracized old-style nicotine addicts — assholes can always get through. It had everything but my keyboard and the instant notifications/gratification. I was almost vibrating.

Then I saw the writing on the wall:

This space overflows with dreams, hopes, stimulation and excitement

Dramatic developments await you

Please be released from everyday life and enjoy yourself free.

May the fortunate goddess smile at you.

@Jack could not have put it more insidiously better.

I was still scribbling that down when Bob reacted the way he did at Churchill Downs back in the early days of the consortium when I once won a few bucks on a horse. The same guy who insisted I get on Twitter (“if you do the cat book, you can drum up interest in it”) grabbed me by the arm and said: “We’re getting out of here.”

And here I sit, with the sound off.


The softer the tortilla the longer the ingredient list. // You can tell exactly what the food will be like when the menu lists prices ending in .95 — no one is fooled. // I own a caper spoon. // “Outrage of the Youngs” will definitely not involve Chianti. Maybe favas.


Imagine being nearly 80 years old and typing “yummy skills.” // No birth control like high chairs at happy hour. // Friend IRL served squash blossoms, two ways for dinner the other night. I told her forced-birthers couldn’t eat ‘em: fetal zucchini. // If your app takes your flack two screens of text to explain, maybe pitch it into the trash? // Explosive flavor sounds like an Ex-Lax promise. // Agriculture secretary sez food stamps “should not be the whole enchilada” for recipients. Dog-whistle much? // GOP tax cuts are just golden showers all over again. Free salt for the peed-ons. // One more reason never, ever to elect a teetotaler. He doesn’t care about wine people. // I will never forgive him for depriving us of taco trucks on every corner . . .


When you’re out of tortillas, you’re out of breakfast, lunch and dinner. // Cannelloni are Italian enchiladas. // Heard a woman in Chipotle asking for rice in her hard-shell taco. That shit doesn’t even belong in burritos. // Someone could do a whole graduate thesis on @alexstupak’s crab nachos with uni “queso.” College dropouts like me can only marvel. #trailTK


Somewhere in that big kitchen in the sky, Pierre and Julia are weeping in their whites and wine. From coattails to contrails. // The fud world has its own Carly. She just drops better brand names. // All whole ducks should come with a can of oven cleaner. // Kinda amusing that Christie’s shit sandwich was meatloaf. // Trying to figure out why anyone would want “zero alcohol” mouthwash. // Consort insisted we set the timer for roasting the beets. Does not have “six days” setting. // Your food video is (almost always) cuttable. // Would rather tip in cookies than cash even though the latter would be cheaper. // Have to say: Seeing “this video sponsored by ConAgra” in the middle of your tough news reporting does give me pause . . .  // How you know you’ve lived too long: You know the Frug coulda been made respectable.

RTs are still a thing . . .

Chivalry is not dead: Guy in “unisex” bathroom line at @paowallanyc offered to let me go first. I said no, he’d be quicker. Him: “You assume.” // Chef loses control of a business with his name and it’s just stenographed. Only the Who is answered; the four other Ws go missing. //  Parody getting tougher: Consort brought home a menu from Santa Fe from a place serving “artisanal American dim sum.” Not sustainable? // Today in I Heart NY: Told the egg lady at the Tucker Square Greenmarket I had just enough cash left for a dozen & she said I could pay her tomorrow on Columbus if I wanted to keep shopping. // Something about scooping out a litter box every a.m. makes you see fud photos kinda . . . differently.


Tumors or cauliflower? And which ones are malignant? // If the menu says Tuscan kale, those leaves had better be crinkly. // Two levels of no-copy-editors-left: Mr. Meyer is not “the chef behind Shake Shack.” // You know what tomatoes are really good in winter? Canned. // Hand pies always sound kinda dirty. // If someone walks into your place and asks “Are you making kimchi?” you’d better hope you are. // Mystery of winemaking: Why Americans would waste vines and time on insipid pinot grigio. #ohiknow // Finally baked a four-month-old buttercup squash. And it tastes grass-fed. Not in a good way, either. // And: We live in the age of $11 carrot appetizers . . .


The most dispiriting cuisine is Sysco-to-table. And you can always tell by the lobster ravioli on the menu. // Now this is an ad (although I wonder what the wingnuts in the trailers who face retirement living on cat food will make of it). // One of those nights to ponder how much better the fud world would be if Chef 1-2-3 had not turned down the gig. #everythingmonster // New rule on booking guests to discuss farmers’ markets: Ask when last s/he went to one. #seasonschange // The biggest file in my crammed office has to be meaningless menus (I have clung to). // Pretty clear that most Americans who say “looks like Calcutta” have never eaten in Kolkata. // Prosecco is the best sparkling water. // A Communion-size pour of rosé  should at least come in a spotless glass. // Given that someone once actually died at a boozy event, maybe not reach for a “how to survive” hed? // Consort brought home the first edible Clif bar ever, a freebie handed out in what was once known as Needle Park. Coat a Payday Bar in chocolate and you’re talking brown power. // Why in holy hell would you put cannellini beans in potato salad? For the after-effects? // Do they have National Daiquiri Day in Cuba, or are they spared lobbyists? // Can’t say it enough: An egg is not a chicken. // And it’s probably good thing the media mob never heard AA Gill killed a baboon. . .


If cats had a cocktail, it would be called the Hurlicane. // New rule should not even have to be stated: You cannot go into resto PR unless you know it’s not spelled prefix or pre fixe or price-fixed. // No such thing as an expert in vegan diets. // Even Eve’s stomach had to knot up at the thought of cider-flavored vodka. Drink Calvados, FFS. // Anyone covering inequality should know the price of a lemon. // Can’t count how many people who got paid to trick pinot grigio out for Cinco de Mayo. All need better meds, tho. // 30 years on from Pierre Franey and now you tell us fish is scary? // What kind of asshole insults a customer waiting to pay? A rent-a-cop asshole working for Eataly. // Rillettes are the hot dogs of high-end food — the toasts (buns) never match the meat/fish. // And you never want to look at a slider at a party and want to call @billmarler.


Sorry, no ingredient should ever be described as a chef’s wet dream. // Remember when Guy Fieri in Times Square just shut down in shame when shamed? Yeah. Me, too. #ayernacido // So where are the stories on asp broth? This spring I have tossed out enough spear bottoms to make gallons. // Every spring I joke about starting a contest just so I can collect all the entry fees. I’d clean up faster than a foundation. Award for most crowded: MFK category. // Can’t say this enough: There is no N in restaurateur. // Wonder how much the movie theater pays the guy who sold me the $6.50 sachet of movie popcorn the other night. // Shouldn’t icebox cake come into the 21st century? And be frig cake? (Or would that trigger porn detectors?)


I’m not sure saying someone is “in good spirits” is so wise as a rehab update. //  Poundcake is a P word, like potpie. As in, one word. // Is “butcher’s bone broth” made from a butcher’s femur? // Mock hollandaise mocks back. // I have to hand it to the toilet advertiser who approved the “after-dinner ware” hed. // “Grocerant” is language abuse. Unless you’re talking insects in the salad aisle. // More heds like this, pls: “Jail time in salmonella case.” // Time to drink the hemlock: They’re talking kale cocktails. // The Cruz Control I spotted on a Phila cocktail menu really should be made with rum, not tequila. // When you resort to “Say Cheese” as a hed, you’ve officially reached the limits of your imagination.


Ideal implement for cracking Turkish pistachios? MOMA letter opener. // I’m enjoying imagining the Sysco truck traveling the back roads, searching in vain for a resto not supplied locally. // In Pierre Franey we can always trust. // Food photos should never look like an unscooped litter box. Unless you want to be video’d. // Pope sez he wishes he could go out and eat pizza. Fud world wishes it could trash him for doing it wrong. // Kinda shitty for a new Californian to say the magic ingredient in a pasta dish is water when the state has only a year’s supply left . . . // And NYC chefs really need to start smoking butter.


Just learned the best word ever for kids: crotchfruit. ($Palin’s, of course.) // Behind paywall, but WSJ has a good story on Citymeals helping olds with their teeth. Can’t chew, can’t be nourished.  // To the point where it’s only noteworthy when Marcus is not in the WSJ. // Whose bright idea was supersizing spice jars? // Surimi is not food. // You cap the K before lime because Key is a place. // Things that are one word: Potpie. Snickerdoodles. // Ridiculousness of the day: “amateur chef.” // New rule: If you have to sniff it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.


Big week: You can finally throw out the barely touched fresh cranberry sauce from last Thanksgiving. // Wonder if the people at the high-minded farm-reformation forum who are arguing for eating insects pitch their King Arthur flour when it hatches. . .  // Pro-tip: Always use 1900 as your birthdate on entering liquor sites. Makes ‘em drink more. // Your wine should never cost more than your turkey. // Note to flacks: If your client is charging for the food, it’s not aperitivo. // Pumpkin in chili is one of the best ideas ever. In anything chocolate? Squanto would retch. // Even ghostwriters have ghostwriters. // It figures a fatal outbreak of listeria would be linked to a company called Wholesome Soy Products. // Probably not a good thing when you can’t tell whether the splotches on the menu are design or grease spots. // Gluten-free gelatin is in the house. Hope no one sensitive learns what it really contains. . . // Tagine = failure?


I’m so old I remember when people complained that soda was cheaper than water. . . // Language debasement continues: “Culinary nutritionist”? The fuck! // Best lemon-tart filling advice ever: “Beat it like it owes you money.” // Spritz or sponsored? You decide. // “Senza Expense Account” would be a helluva wine blog. // Hate it when I cut into an expensive cheese and think I could mop the floor with it. // Trying to figure out why there would be an expiry date on a box of sugar.  // Culinary is a long-winded way of saying food. // I can be the food shrink for the holidays: Throw out all the hysterical “advice.” Just marinate your guests. // Two more in head-scratching: a burger described as a delicacy and a tarte Tatin as a confection. // When guests say “I don’t want to make you have to cook,” I hear: “Please fucking don’t.” //  Outlaw superlatives and you put fud magazine cover-line writers out of biz. // Was a dentist what invented Halloween, no? // If you love something you should spell it right — it’s La Lunchonette for a very good reason.